I have this estate map in illustrator. Everything is made only with lines. I would like to add a background color to an estate, but I cant because it is not a plane. Is there a way to make those estates as planes in illustrator in a semi-automated way. I have more than 100 estates. So doing one by one can take a weeks.

Thanks enter image description here


4 Answers 4


Select all...
Grab the Live Paint Bucket tool...
Pick a color...
Start clicking...
When done.. Hit the EXPAND button in the Control Bar across the top of the screen.

Try this on a copy of the file first.. so you get the hang of it and what it'll do the artwork.


Use Shape Builder Tool (Shift+M). It is a good idea to copy every shape down to a separate layer (below the original) before starting. Kill numbers and text on this layer. Then lock your original layer. After thsi lets start shapebuilding

  • Select everything
  • make every stroke None
  • Enable shape builder

    after this your free to pick a color for either lines of fill and it wont update to selection. Start clicking your regions and it will fill any are bounded by lines. Also you can build shapes out of adjoining areas too.

    Screen capture

    Image 1: Example of shape builder in action. Note lines are originally separate shape builder wont care. image originally for this post.

Tip: You can double click on the shape builder tool to allow for small gaps between shapes another options.


No-brainer's way:

  • make a copy that has everything accessible (=no lockings, a single layer)
  • remove texts and numbers (select by similarity)
  • change all strokes to neutral 50% grey
  • place the thing as bitmap in a huge empty bitmap image in Photoshop
  • fill the areas with proper colors NOTE: before importing be sure that all strokes are wide enough to be rendered as a watertight bitmap line in PS. It's well possible that you must fill some holes by a brush.
  • import your colorfull bitmap back to Illustrator into a new background layer of your map

The bitmap will not take much space because it will be compressed, if that is allowed in your saving preferences. It can be traced to vector domain, if needed.

Save also the intermediate versions because tomorrow you might want to change some colours (assumed the colour presents something essential)


Maybe you could outline all strokes (maybe unite them afterwards), then place a rectangle behind the map and do an Exclude with pathfinder, and ungroup. That would be fun way to do it, imho.

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